Innovation SL (Innosl) is a registered limited company in Sierra Leone. The company was set up in March 2017. Innovation SL Ltd is an Entrepreneurship Support Organisation (ESO) and an Innovation & Technology Management company. The founder is a Sierra-Leonean born Norwegian with 20 years in Entrepreneurship Ecosystem development. One of the primary motivations in establishing Inno SL was to deviate from the standard approach to nurturing innovators in Sierra Leone.
As an ESO Innovation SL places emphasis on entrepreneurship and the critical role of SMEs in catalysing national economic growth – addressing the challenges of unemployment, introducing, enhancing and managing innovation in the public and private sectors and contributing to a vibrant and well-functioning ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs and innovators in Sierra Leone.
We believe entrepreneur support organisations (ESOs) are the key to unlocking pipeline and catalyzing early stage investment across the continent.; the entrepreneur support sector is critical to the future of sustainable economies in Africa “ Village Capital Unlocking Pipeline
The major focus is building a vibrant Entrepreneurial Ecosystem that will support disruptive, high-growth and value creating entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone. With this focus Innovation SL is doing the following:
- Developing digital and technology solutions; contributing to a digital infrastructure to enable the development and growth of digital entrepreneurs.
- Own Co working space, Incubator and Accelerator (Innovations Axis
- Running and Managing Entrepreneurship development competitions such the well known Freetown Pitch Night – a monthly pitch event;
- GEN Sierra Leone – the GEN Global affiliate in Sierra Leone;
- A service provider focusing on technology transfer; business development services; enhancing the role of Innovation in the public sector; and entrepreneurship development
- Providing contextual intelligence and insight to SMEs/others in Sierra Leone to enable innovation and growth.
Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are important drivers of growth in economies across Sub Saharan Africa, accounting for up to 90% of all businesses in these markets.
As SMEs are critical to Africa’s development, so is the support needed to ensure the success of the entrepreneurs behind them. Entrepreneur Support Organisations (ESO) are critical to the success of the entrepreneurship sector, providing entrepreneurs with business training, access to markets, networks and mentors, financial and social capital, and in-kind support. They are key to unlocking the pipeline of early-stage innovation in Africa, and driving investment and job creation across the continent.
From our establishment in 2017 our focus has been on developing value creating and high growth entrepreneurs as opposed to rent seeking entrepreneurs. Further, we have sought to deviate from the standard approach to nurturing innovators- through innovation competitions that focus on the top 3 winners out of 50 submissions. These top three will get cash prizes with little and sometimes no follow up.
We believe that for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to play the crucial role in creating jobs and growing the Sierra Leonean economy, we need to develop value creating and high growth entrepreneurs. For this to happen, the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem must be in place and enabled.
This is why our approach has been based on developing components of the ecosystem; and enabling other parts of the ecosystem that is suited to nurturing value creating and high growth potential startups and scale ups.
Incubator and Accelerator
In 2019 we began our incubation and acceleration program. The program is located at Kingtom which is a space we have under a separate company- Innovations Axis.
At the end of 2019, we have 12 start ups under incubation in various stages of the development. Already one of our start-ups under incubation, has generated revenues of 90 million leones. In 2020, this same start-up will generate a further 350million leones.
Five of our start ups are at the validation start phase and this process will continue for another six months in 2020. Validation remains one of the most part of our incubation program, where the focus is on an MVP that is going to address a tier 1 problem for a particular customer segment.
In 2019 our start-ups were made up as follows:
- 50% students (each of these start-ups had at least two women as co-founders)
- 40% women founders
- 20 % non-students
- The age group range from 22 years to 35 years old.
The Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) are the “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. InnoSL is committed to the SDGs.
We believe that the private sector has a role to play in meeting these goals. As an Entrepreneur Support Organisation, we will focus our incubation and acceleration programs on entrepreneurs that are developing solutions to meet these goals
An entrepreneurial ecosystem where Sierra Leone’s largest companies, academic institutions, MDAs & international partners interact with entrepreneurs, individuals, graduates & alumni of entrepreneurial organisations, providing a strong source of ‘cultural & intellectual capital’ – fueled by highly-networked & experienced mentoring & capital, supported by our incubator & accelerator.
Our Strategic Focus & Goals